Twitch could hold its own against some of the biggest names in cable TV

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Amazon certainly thinks that Twitch is a good investment, as it just spent nearly $1 billion to buy Twitch and all of its live-game-streaming accoutrement. It turns out Twitch stacks up well against a lineup of cable networks, drawing in more viewers than HLN, CNN, E!, MSNBC, TruTV and even MTV during peak hours, The New York Times reports. Twitch’s viewership has been on the rise since 2012, topping out at nearly 800,000 primetime viewers this year. However, going by hours of content viewed per month, Twitch pales in comparison with Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is roughly eight times larger than Twitch, and Youtube is 24 times larger, NYT says.

On Monday, Amazon said it would spend more than $1 billion for Twitch, a website for watching video games. The site, which started three years ago, was never supposed to exist. Today, thousands of players are broadcasting, or streaming, their games on the site at any given moment, with many amassing a loyal audience. Twitch’s peak viewership now rivals the average prime-time viewers of some cable networks, as seen in the chart above. But compared with online video giants, Twitch is small. In hours of video viewed each month, Netflix is roughly eight times larger than Twitch, and YouTube is roughly 24 times larger, according to statistics from each company. Still, top Twitch streamers build large audiences, and hold the attention of tens of thousands of people for hours, as seen in the charts below. Those viewers can translate into revenue: Top streamers can earn money from ads, donations and subscriptions from their followers, who watch videos on the site for almost two hours a day, according to Twitch. Game developers and other companies are also on Twitch, streaming footage from tournaments that pit top teams against one another. Riot Games, the company that makes the game League of Legends, holds frequent competitions that attract hundreds of thousands of viewers.

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